Lantana Toxicity in Cattle

Lantana is a shrub found everywhere through the Scenic Rim. While generally it is unpalatable to cattle, some conditions make it more likely to be ingested. Funnily enough the dry start to Spring followed by the wonderful rain we have been having has made for the perfect conditions and we have been having quite a few cases pop up.

Lantana typically affects cattle who have been introduced to the area, however young cattle and hungry stock are also prone to eating it. Generally the pink flowering varieties tend to be non poisonous, while the red, orange and some white flowering varieties can be toxic.

Signs of lantana toxicity are initially just lethargy, swollen head, reddened nose and eyes and cattle often act as if a fly is bothering them- chucking their head up toward their withers.

As the condition progresses they get crusting of the nose and eyes, peeling of white areas of skin(such as the backline and tail in white cattle, where as this sign is not seen in darker breeds of cattle). It can definitely be fatal, and when the condition worsens cattle can become very dehydrated and show neurological signs.

Treatment depends on the animal and the number affected. We recommend individual treatment for valued animals, while sometimes this is cost prohibitive in whole mobs.

Preventing Lantana Toxicity is not always simple. In general we recommend farm management to remove the weed, and ideally keeping stock that are from similar country however in the face of an outbreak that is not feasible. Providing good quality feed is important to reduce the chance of cattle ingesting the weed, and sometimes changing mobs of cattle to ensure less susceptible animals are in Lantana containing paddocks can be used.

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